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Time Management


This is the report of the TrainingZONE online workshop run on 28 March 2000 and led by Andrea McHugh:

Andrea McHugh: Hello Jean and welcome

Jean Byrne: Hi.(Jean Here). This is my first on-line workshop and I'm not quite sure of the format. So be patient.

Andrea McHugh: Hi David, we'll probably have others joining as we go along, so let me start by asking if either of you have any questions or comments to kick off with..

Andrea McHugh: That's fine Jean. Just type in comments or questions as you need to, and I hope you enjoy the experience!

David Thornicroft: Hello, I'm just working out how to do this, I haven't attended before

Andrea McHugh: Hello Roger and welcome. I've just started by asking if anyone has any questions to start off with.

David Thornicroft: Well, just a comment, I run time management training courses occaisionally for social workers/care workers etc so that's why I've come along, just to get some tips

Jean Byrne: I'm just basically interested in exploring ways to save time at work. I tend to get bogged down in admin things which do need to be done. But of course I'm sometimes left with the feeling that I have got nothing accomplished!

Andrea McHugh: I deliver lots of time management training and one-to-one coaching. It seems to me that there are three major areas of difficulty for most people: clutter, procrastination and dealing with other people. Ring any bells with anyone?

Andrea McHugh: Hello Gill and welcome.

Jean Byrne: Forget to add my name to that statement about trying to save time.

David Thornicroft: And even though I run time mgt courses I can't claim to be anything like perfect in my own time mgt!!

ROGER PATTISON: I run time management courses regularely, however, I feel that it is the individuals who need to want to change that will make the difference, any tips greatfully recieved

Andrea McHugh: Jean you don't need to add your name - the system does it for you.

David Thornicroft: procrastination seems to be the main one I come across

Andrea McHugh: You're right Roger, I think that many people have convinced themselves there is nothing they can do - they blame other people, systems, workload etc.

Andrea McHugh: Shall we start by looking at procrastination then? What sort of tasks/activities are you procrastinating?

David Thornicroft: all the difficult/unpleasant ones!

ROGER PATTISON: The idead of preventative planning seems to get lost, I feel that many people almost like or work in a culture where panic and crisis is considered the norm

Jean Byrne: I find personally that clutter is a problem. I work part-time (2.5 days a week). When I come in after a holiday or week-end, I have relatively speaking too much clutter to go through in relation to the time I have in the office. Any suggestions?

Jean Byrne: Apologies for appearing not to be following the discussion. I am responding at my own typing pace and may get behind...

ROGER PATTISON: Be very hard on prioritising, and realy try and find out what you can dump

David Thornicroft: Roger, by dump do you mean delgate, or just get rid of?

Gill Hardy: Gill Hardy - I also deliver time management workshops and find that people get bogged down with day to day events and are continually firefighting rather than planning to use their time effectively. Some of the most common problems for people to be overloaded with work seem to be lack of resources, lack of people to delegate work to and having to do other peoples jobs - intentionally or otherwise.

Andrea McHugh: OK. I think that when dealing with procrastination you have to look at what it is you're procrastinating and why? Most often we put off dealing with big/difficult tasks. Some quick ideas: plan ahead; break task down into very VERY small chunks; do something; give yourself a short amount of time ie 5 minutes and start the task. Anything you'd like to add?

Gill Hardy: Gill Hardy - people do not always realise they procrastinate - self assessment in this area can be very strong

ROGER PATTISON: What remains - you can ask the question, what contribution will I make if I do this task, then what impact will I make, who will know, in other words does it contribute to the key goals that have been set, for you, your team etc

Andrea McHugh: It's also important to realise that not all procrastination is bad! If you're procrastinating low importance tasks then that is OK.

Jean Byrne: Gill, what do you mean by self-assessing whether or not you procrastinate? Have you got a quick way of telling?

ROGER PATTISON: the 80/20 rule really applies when looking for things to dump

Gill Hardy: Not a quick way - I use a self- assessment questionnaire and then generate group discussion

Jean Byrne: Roger, can you explain the 80/20 rule?

David Thornicroft: When you use a questionnaire you have to make sure people tell the truth!

Andrea McHugh: Re self assessing: I think that if something is making you feel guilty, if it's moving from one days list to another, or if you're being chased for something you're probably procrastinating. You can also use questionnaires.

ROGER PATTISON: Yes, that the trivia probably takes up 80% of your allotted time but contributes very little to achieving goals (20%) therefore find the 20% that achieves the significant contribution (80%) oftern caled key result areas

Christopher E J Heat: Has anyone used NLP techniques to help people improve their time management skills?

David Thornicroft: No, but tell us a bit more ....

Jean Byrne: Are there any general guidelines about how much time one should give to getting through an in-tray as opposed to tackling priority tasks?

Andrea McHugh: No, Christopher but I would be interested to hear if you have and what works.

ROGER PATTISON: No, have you, tell us more?

Andrea McHugh: Hello Marie and welcome.

Jean Byrne: Yes, I'd like to know more too...

Gill Hardy: Gill Hardy - Most people do not use time management tools consistently, like most things they are forgotten when rushed or overworked. It is also a relatively dry topic compared to team building, for example, that lends itself to lively group activities. Anyone any ideas for interesting and stimulating activities that may sustain people back in their workplace? t

Andrea McHugh: Jean there are no general guidelines but I've got a fact sheet that may be of interest. If you'd like a copy let me know.

Jean Byrne: Andrea, I'd find that useful, thanks

David Thornicroft: Jean, in answer to your question, try the measles technique. Have a red felt tip pen by your in tray. Every time you pick up a piece of paper in your in tray put a red dot on it. If it ends up loooking like it's got measles then you are wasting time! You should try to deal with every piece of paper asap

Christopher E J Heat: I have not had the opportunity to structure anything yet, but there are techniques that can help people increase their motivation to achieve specific outcomes - changing from just wishing to to really wanting to, for example. Also there are techniques that use the timeline encoding of memory and imagination that I think might have some value for this topic

marie Chambers: Hi Andrea, sorry about the delay just reading the " before I came in this room transcript"

Andrea McHugh: You're right Gill. It's easy to manage your time when you've got plenty of it. I ask people to identify the very specific things they would like to change about the way they manage their time and workload. If you can get them to make a difference in a couple of areas they are much more motivated to keep it going.

ROGER PATTISON: I use 3 different techniques for prioritising, time/importance - importance /impact - urgent /importance, and split group into 3 and get them to try each then argue their case. they can get quite irate about how they see this, however, when you average their ranked results they often come out the same!

marie Chambers: in our workplace we have a priority worksheet which we fill in during the day with points from 1-4, 1 being important etc. we have found this useful and saves alot of time thinking of what we have to do next etc

Andrea McHugh: Yes I use a similar system. Most of the heated discussion comes when people in the same organisation or department have different priorities.

David Thornicroft: Roger that sounds like a good idea. Gill, one exercise I get people to do is role play saying no to time consuming requests (eg can you type this up for me, can I talk to you now...)

Gill Hardy: Gill Hardy. Applying NLP techniques sounds really interesting - anyone know some useful websites?

Andrea McHugh: I think team time management is also important. People must be aware of how their own use of time impacts on others. A lot of people complain that others give them last minute work, interrupt them, don't meet deadlines etc, but don't see that they are also doing these same things to others.

Andrea McHugh: Gill, try

Christopher E J Heat: Gill - A starting point for NLP might be the Association for NLP - - and I know some others too.

ROGER PATTISON: Yes, I agree. Keeping a team time log helps. What do others do to hijack my time, what do I do to hijack theirs. You have to be honest though!

David Thornicroft: I think it's also a good idea to make it clear to others how "disturbable" you are. Eg if you work with your office door open, or if you always stop work when someone goes by then you can't really complain if people do disturb you!

Andrea McHugh: Yes, David, and you must be consistent and congruent.

Gill Hardy: Gill Hardy Thanks everyone - its always useful to swop ideas. The last time I conducted a workshop I used the analogy of a journey. The passport was the job role which was checked at passport control when everyone analysed how they actually used their time against what they should be doing. Time management tools were kept in the briefcase for in-flight reading, the guidebook told people how to prioritise and schedule their work so they got around much more quickly and delegation was the first class travel because for many people it is a luxury but one they should try to afford. Sorry about the long sentences!

ROGER PATTISON: I like the journey idea

Andrea McHugh: Thanks Gill, that's a great analogy.

Christopher E J Heat: Gill, nice analogy!

Christopher E J Heat: Thanks for your ideas, everyone. I must be away now!

Andrea McHugh: Bye Christopher, thanks for your input.

David Thornicroft: Yep, I'm off to write a list!

ROGER PATTISON: Thanks - my first on line training has been worthwhile, Bye

Andrea McHugh: Bye, Roger and David. Does anyone else want to look at any other areas of time management?

Jean Byrne: I'm afraid I've got caught up in something else and have to get on with it... but I've enjoyed this first experience. Thanks everyone. Byr

Andrea McHugh: Bye Jean.

Andrea McHugh: As most people are needing to leave I think we'll wind up the workshop, unless you have any last questions...

Gill Hardy: Gill Hardy Thanks Andrea - I'll say goodbye also, it was my first time as well


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